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Therapeutic massage has been used for centuries to improve overall health, reduce stress, and relieve muscle tension. Research shows prenatal massage therapy can help reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains, and improve labour outcomes and newborn health.
Twenty-six pregnant women were assigned to pre-natal massage therapy or a relaxation therapy group for five weeks. Only the massage therapy group reported reduced anxiety, improved mood, better sleep and less back pain by the last day of the study. In addition, urinary stress hormone levels decreased for the massage therapy group with fewer complications during labour and their infants had fewer post-natal complications.
(Field T, et al., J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 1999 Mar, 20 (1):31-8)
WHAT THE EVIDENCE SAYS
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Many people find massage very therapeutic both during and after pregnancy. During pregnancy, it is important to support your changing body during your pregnancy. There may be strains and soreness from the extra weight you are carrying and also from the joints starting to relax making the muscles work harder to support them.
Prenatal massage treatment may help to:
Reduce general muscle tension and pain
Decrease stress, depression and anxiety
Improve mood and sleep
Decrease back and pelvic pain
Manage symptoms of edema & sciatica